The Media Theatre Presents MATILDA Starting Oct. 2
Mean 'n' rotten Trunchbulls of the world: Watch out! When "Matilda" takes the stage at the Media Theatre, students in Delaware County will be empowered to thwart bullies, inspire teachers, embrace reading and let their imaginations run wild.
"Matilda the Musical," the London import that earned rave reviews on Broadway, will bring mayhem and meaning to the Media Theatre stage Oct. 2-27, with special matinees for school groups and family-friendly 7 p.m. curtain times for evening shows.
Inspired by the twisted tale of Roald Dahl, "Matilda the Musical" is the captivating masterpiece from the Royal Shakespeare Company that garnered a Tony Award on Broadway and was praised by critics as an "exhilarating tale of empowerment."
In Delaware County, two Media Theatre students star as Matilda: Sydney Amos of Aston and Zoe Nesbitt of Drexel Hill.
Matilda is a little girl with astonishing wit, intelligence and telekinetic powers. She's neglected by her cruel parents, but taken under the wing of her kind teacher, Miss Honey. Matilda and Miss Honey help each other contend with the school's horrific headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, a hulking shot putter who relishes intimidating children.
"Matilda" speaks to any young student who has faced fear, insecurity or downright mean-spirited people. It also inspires hope in that there are Miss Honeys in our schools who nurture the talents and resilience in children. To honor the teaching community, the Media Theatre is recognizing an outstanding teacher, nominated by their students, at each of the Wednesday evening shows.
It's true that Roald Dahl's tale is dark and some of the grown-ups in it are truly horrid. After all, no one wants to be tossed about by her pigtails, or forced to eat an entire chocolate cake. But Matilda overcomes this darkness by reading, by using her wit and intelligence, and by summoning the strength she has inside. She helps herself, her fellow students and Miss Honey.
Dahl painted a dark and scary world, but he also depicted some very smart, clever children who find their own powers inside.
The wicked Trunchbull is played by Kelly Briggs, a fan favorite in Media. Matilda's awful parents, the Wormwoods, are played by JP Dunphy and Deborah Lynn Meier. Megan Ruggles makes her Media debut as Miss Honey. Tamara Della Anderson portrays Mrs. Phelps, the school librarian.
Directed by Jesse Cline, the real super stars in the musical are the cast of Kids (who are double cast): Matilda is played by Sydney Amos and Zoe Nesbitt, Bruce is Greyson Heneks and Jacob Shapiro, Lavender is Natalie Amos and Rachel Durham, Amanda is Lily Jo Shelkin and Reese Massiello and Nigel is played by Aidan Crane and Elliott Boldin.
The cast of Little Kids includes Lila Bea Hannon and Chloe Tomaszewski as Hortensia, Aidan Fox and Kevin Olive as Eric, Madeline Garson and Amaia Truong as Alice, Charlie Carroccio and Preston Newton as Tommy, and Lucy Amos and Sutton Gold as Freya.
The Big Kids are Zachary Amos and Nolan Murphy who share the role of Michael Wormwood, as well as Elizabeth Brown, Caileigh Crane, Emma Fox, Josie InTham, Alexsa McKeown, Madison Van Horn, and Mae Weaver.
"To be able to work with these talented young actors, to see them grow and then to see them star in this clever, creative musical is what the Media Theatre is all about," said Cline. "It is fun and exciting for them, but also fulfilling for us as we introduce young people to the joy of live theatre. In addition, this show gives teachers and parents an abundance of topics to talk about with children after they leave the theatre."
The Ensemble consists of Rita Castagna, Topher Layton, Kim Senisi, Amanda Shaffern, Angel Sigala and Roger Ricker.
The lively choreography is by Christian Ryan with Ben Kapilow as music director.
Because there is a powerful educational message in "Matilda the Musical," there are special matinees for school groups and other discounts available to reach as many Delaware County students as possible. And adults who are fortunate enough to tag along with youngsters, "Matilda" is a fun and strangely moving show.
For more information about the Media Theatre, call 610-891-0100 or visit the website at www.mediatheatre.org.
Pictured: Miss Trunchbull (Kelly Briggs) with The Media Theatre's two Matildas who share performances (Sydney Amos and Zoe Nesbitt)